In December 2017, almost 250 people died as a result of accidents in Kenya, prompting the President to withdraw National Transport and Safety Authority officials from the country’s roads.
The agency was accused of doing little or nothing to end the slaughter.
In 2016, the World Health Organisation put the figure of individuals dying in road accidents globally at more than a million.
It said road accident injuries are the leading cause of deaths among people aged 15 to 29.
Kenya loses an average of 3,000 lives in accidents every year, placing it among the countries with the highest road fatalities in the world.
This, despite the many road safety campaigns. A majority of the accidents are as a result of human error and behaviour, according to many studies.
These include drunk driving, speeding, poor judgement, overtaking errors, failure or refusal to give way and fatigue.
Truck drivers have been blamed for many accidents, especially at night. Some fail to dim the headlights, blinding oncoming drivers.
The October 10 bus accident in Fort Ternan, Kericho County that killed almost 60 people is still fresh in our minds. The bus owner and the officials of the sacco that managed the vehicle have been taken to court.
Addressing these issues calls for individual behavioural change and a multisectoral approach to enhance safety.
There is a need to enforce traffic regulations strictly and impose punitive fines on motorists and other road users who do not follow the Highway Code.
There is also a need to improve oversight and measures to eliminate corruption when issuing driving permits.
Corruption at checkpoints is a main contributor to the carnage though police keep denying it.
Relevant State agencies should know that changing people’s attitudes towards speed, drink and dangerous driving are critical safety areas. The NTSA should conduct continuous behavioural change campaigns to promote responsible road use.
Road accidents cause economic losses victims, their families and the country in general.
The losses arise from the cost of treatment and reduced or lost productivity.
EDWARD CEDRIC OPANY, Nairobi
Menanyi Sacco vehicles on the Meru-Nanyuki-Nairobi route have made a name for themselves.
The management has continuously enforced the Michuki rules, particularly on the “express” vehicles.
At one point, the sacco had its inspectors on roads to discipline errant drivers.
The inspectors literally ensured the passengers and vehicle crews buckled up.
This is exactly what is being done by police officers.
Let the government reward saccos enforcing the traffic rules even as it sanctions the rogue ones. Lastly, enforcement of the rules should be continuous.